Ronald Hayes Pearson

Ronald Pearson (1924-1996) served in the Merchant Marine Corps for five years during World War II. When he returned from service, he enrolled in the School for American Craftsmen at Rochester Institute of Technology. Unfortunately, he only had enough money to attend RIT for one semester. He decided to set up a shop in an old chicken coop near RIT. Pearson’s first interest was in metal spinning. He mostly spun hollow bronze forms. He soon developed an interest in jewelry- the first piece he produced received a first place award in a competition. Pearson’s jewelry was based on forged precious and semi-precious metal. He was the first jeweler to use this technique on non-ferrous metal. Pearson, along with other craftsmen, opened up the first retail shop to exclusively sell unique and limited production craft items that was owned by practicing craftsmen- Shop One. Metalsmith John Prip, cabinet maker Tage Frid, ceramist Frans Wildenhain, and Ronald Pearson recognized a need for this type of outlet to sell their work. They organized and managed Shop One in Rochester, NY. After opening and running Shop One, Pearson became a full-time studio artist. He taught at RIT, but never as a full-time instructor. His studio employed several jewelers to assist in the production of his jewelry line, and Pearson was certified by CETA to train people as jewelers. Some of these people went on to art school or to work for other jewelers. He wrote articles and chapters of books on studio apprenticeships. Pearson was a founding member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. He sometimes worked for industry, and he designed his own line of flatware for the Kirk Steiff Company. He was also commissioned by several institutions and churches to execute various projects. Ronald Hayes Pearson passed away in August 1997, and left a lasting impression in the metals community through his work and many contributions.

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